What does one do about a bad citizen like the guy who drops an ice cream wrapper on England’s Crich Tramway and not only refuses to pick it up, but flips someone off at the suggestion? Or the bride-to-be in that restaurant who takes advantage of someone's trip to the loo to park her butt in that person's boyfriend’s lap?
Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram) have their own, very darkly comic ways to deal with these and other bothersome folks in Ben Wheatley’s comedy Sightseers.
They’ve escaped from Tina’s demanding battle-ax of a mom and set off in Chris’ caravan (trailer) on a sightseeing trip through northern England, with an itinerary including the Pencil Museum, Fountains Abbey and Ribblehead Viaduct.
Chris (not your average guy) wants this to be a perfect vacation, but the poor guy keeps running into annoying people, and Chris does not take it calmly. He seethes about the wrapper dropper until he can’t take it any more, then simply backs the trailer over the gentleman in question.
As the trip progresses, other unfortunate accidents befall other loathesome travelers. How many, what happens, and will he get caught? I leave that for viewers to find out the answer to these nagging questions.
If this sounds like a sick idea for a film (a comedy, no less), then welcome to my camp. But Lowe and Oram are comedy writer/performers with improv backgrounds who do live character comedy. The idea came one night while they were talking about their mutual backgrounds in England’s Midlands. They couldn’t sell the idea to British TV, so went the film route.
Sightseers can be seen as a fantasy (who hasn’t concocted visual notions of horrible consequences for a particularly obnoxious person?) or twisted comedy, or just plain escape. It works in all those ways.
Get ready for a few old jokes (Chris and Tina amuse others with their rather athletic trailer sex) and a few surprises – and even a sort of travelogue, complete with guides and, well, those bothersome travelers. And a new meaning for the American phrase “trailer trash.”
Photo Credit: IFC FIlms